High-End Real Estate Development Boosts Miami

Real estate markets are gathering momentum in the Miami Metropolitan Statistical Area. Home prices in Miami continue to outpace the national average, with strong double-digit gains: the Case-Shiller Index for the city shows an almost 18 percent increase in home prices for September 2014 over September 2013. Residential real estate markets are still tight, with single-family homes staying on the market for about 43 days, and about 58 days for condominiums, according to the Miami Association of Realtors. Although these numbers have increased marginally over the past year, prices remain firm. As the U.S. economy shows resilience in the face of global headwinds, foreign investment in Miami is primed to increase. Strong investment is already being made in luxury retail and living development in the city core, with projects like Miami Worldcenter (expected investment of $2 billion) and Brickell City Center (expected investment over $1 billion).

Miami has consistently seen much stronger payroll employment growth than the national average since the beginning of 2011. As of October, payroll employment in Miami is up by 3.2 percent, while U.S. employment was up by 2.0 percent. We expect the unemployment rate in the Miami MSA to continue its downward trend, hitting 4.8 percent by the end of 2015, below our projection for the U.S. at 5.1 percent. The firmest employment growth for the region is in the construction, manufacturing, and the trade/transportation/utilities sectors.

Miami’s return to better-than-national performance across core economic metrics will also be fueled by lower prices at the gasoline pump. In addition to aiding consumer spending locally, this will increase tourism to the area, a key pillar of the local economy. The University of Florida’s Florida Consumer Sentiment Index is hitting post-recession highs, indicating stronger-than-expected retail performance to close the year.

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Click here for the complete Miami MSA Regional Economic Update: Miami 2014Q3.

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